The linguistic aestheticization of food: A cross-cultural look at food commercials in Japan, Korea, and the United States

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Abstract

Drawing on the dual notion of taste, this article presents a cross-cultural/cross-linguistic analysis of taste terms in food commercials from Japan, Korea, and the United States. From the point of view of taste as it pertains to sensory perception, the study examines the semantic characteristics of taste-related descriptors used in the commercial copy from the three languages/countries under investigation. The analysis centers on the concepts of deliciousness and tastiness in Japanese, Korean, and English and other descriptors used to linguistically aestheticize the food products being advertised. The focus here is on the degree of specificity of the taste terms and on the domains of sensory perception that they invoke. From the point of view of taste as aesthetic preference, the study pinpoints nuanced differences in linguistic and cultural variations with respect to how taste descriptors pattern across each language/culture. It is shown that the taste terms in the Japanese corpus tend to be less descriptively precise and include fewer synaesthetically derived descriptors than those in the U.S. and Korean corpora. The results provide preliminary evidence to support a dismantling of popular and scholarly myths which boldly and broadly dichotomize East vs. West.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1455
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Volume37
Issue number9 SPEC. ISS.
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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